Russia investigates Apple over Kaspersky kids app block

BACK IN APRIL, Apple was in hot water over claims it was taking a strange new interest in rivals’ kid protection apps after its own Screen Time …

BACK IN APRIL, Apple was in hot water over claims it was taking a strange new interest in rivals’ kid protection apps after its own Screen Time software launched on iPhone. Apple initially denied that it was hobbling others to promote its own app, but eventually softened its absolute ban on Mobile Device Management (MDM) being used in parental-control apps. It was still frowned upon, but accepted in some circumstances.

That, it turns out, isn’t the end of the story. While previously Apple was just dealing with some ticked off app developers, now it has Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog – the FAS – on its tail.

The FAS says it is looking into why the latest version of Kaspersky Lab’s Safe Kids app has been blocked from the App Store, noting that version 12 of Screen Time seems to offer plenty of feature overlap with Kaspersky’s product.

For its part, Kaspersky noted that the official guidelines allow limited use of MDM, but couldn’t find a way to get the go-ahead from Apple’s app guardians.

When Reutersapproached Apple for comment, the company pointed the news agency back to its statement from April. The one that says certain apps were removed because “they put users’ privacy and security at risk.”

At the end of that post, it’s worth remembering that Apple categorically denied the removal of apps had anything to do with them sharing functionality with home-grown products. “In this app category, and in every category, we are committed to providing a competitive, innovative app ecosystem,” the statement read.

“There are many tremendously successful apps that offer functions and services similar to Apple’s in categories like messaging, maps, email, music, web browsers, photos, note-taking apps, contact managers and payment systems, just to name a few. We are committed to offering a place for these apps to thrive as they improve the user experience for everyone.”

We’ll have to wait and see as to whether the FSA reaches the same conclusion. µ

Further reading

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SmartNews: An AI News App for Personalized Discovery

… joined the unicorn club, according to Pitchbook. The CB Insights unicorn tracker now lists nearly 400 startups at a combined value of $1.1 trillion.

We’re serious news junkies here at Nanalyze, with a heavy lean toward anything tech-related, which means our knowledge of pop culture and politics stops somewhere around the late 1980s. So, we were particularly surprised to learn that the Doobie Brothers eventually got back together. What hasn’t surprised us is the ongoing application of artificial intelligence in the creation, dissemination, and aggregation of news. Algorithms are now employed to write news stories with increasing sophistication, while other machine learning platforms work to detect fake news. And many news aggregation platforms such as Google News use AI to automate the search for the storylines it believes will interest each user. Tokyo-based startup SmartNews is an upstart in the AI-powered news aggregation space that just reached a $1.1 billion valuation this month following its latest Series E funding round.

We call private companies that reach the $1 billion threshold unicorns, which once reflected the rare nature of such valuations just a few years ago. Today, unicorns are falling from the sky. In the first half of 2019, 62 new startups joined the unicorn club, according to Pitchbook. The CB Insights unicorn tracker now lists nearly 400 startups at a combined value of $1.1 trillion.

Click here for company websiteSo our interest in SmartNews isn’t just predicated on its shiny new valuation, which comes after raising a relatively modest $116 million since it was founded in 2012. What particularly piqued our curiosity is how this relatively unknown Japanese startup uses AI to aggregate news – and how quickly it has grown in the United States.

AI for News Aggregation and Recommendation

Let’s start with the tech. As we’ve already alluded: AI tools for aggregating news stories into a customizable feed is nothing new. Last year, Google rebuilt its news recommendation platform using a “new set of AI techniques to take a constant flow of information as it hits the web, analyze it in real time and organize it into storylines,” according to a blog post. It claims this approach “understands the people, places and things involved in a story as it evolves, and connects how they relate to one another.” Who needs a news anchor anymore? A survey of nearly 200 publishers by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism published last year found that nearly 60% of digital news platforms use some form of AI for content recommendations.

Survey of how digital news publisher use artificial intelligence.

Credit: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

One of the more popular news aggregators outside of Google is Silicon Valley-based Flipboard, which has raised $210.5 million since it was founded in 2010. It also uses AI for curating the news feed of its user base, which reportedly numbered 145 million monthly users, as of last year. It also claims 11,000 publishers on its platform. However, AI doesn’t do all of the work: A small group of humans is still in the loop, manually selecting articles to recommend to its readers. And let’s not forget about the world’s largest startup, ByteDance, which employs AI to engage its one billion users in China on the Toutiao news platform by “analyzing the features of content, users and users’ interaction with content.” The customized news feeds keep users engaged an average of 74 minutes per day.

SmartNews image from hoempage.

Credit: SmartNews

On the other hand, SmartNews relies heavily on its algorithms to “evaluate millions of articles, social signals and human interactions to deliver the top 0.01% of stories that matter most, right now.” While the platform does make recommendations based on its users previous activity, it emphasizes what it calls “personalized discovery,” meaning that machine will post content that you probably would have never come across in your normal news bubble.

SmartNews Seeing Success

Apparently, the strategy is working. While its user base is relatively small compared to Google or even Flipboard – there are about 10 to 20 million active users (depending on what stats you believe), mainly between Japan and the United States – SmartNews is growing more rapidly than any other news aggregator. Traffic on the site jumped 145% in 2018, with an average monthly rate of 9%, according to Parse.ly, a data analytics company for audience engagement.

Ranking of news aggregation sites by traffic.

Credit: Parse.ly

The nearly 400 U.S. publishers and 2,000 Japanese publishers on the platform are fans of the site, as they can expect referral traffic from SmartNews to give them a bump as high as 17% in any given month, Parse.ly reported. More recent data do show that referrals have plateaued a bit this year:

SmartNews referral trend growth since 2018.

Credit: Parse.ly

Another feature of SmartNews is that it sends readers to the website of the original article, and allows its partners to insert their own advertising on the news feed while keeping 100% of the revenue, according to an analysis by the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. In Japan, SmartNews also has a program that drives not just traffic but revenue to its partners, a model that it expects to export to the United States within the next year.

The SmartNews Bump

The SmartNew bump is real. For instance, MIT Technology Review reported nearly 17% growth, month over month, coming from SmartNews, since it became a partner in February, according to the Nieman Lab article. SmartNews now makes up about 4.3% of the MIT tech news site’s overall referral traffic.

In another case study, SmartNews boosted page views for E! News around the annual Met Gala. SmartNews created a featured content set in the E! News channel and scheduled relevant in-app promotions around the event. Working with E! News, SmartNews used specific keywords in the metadata of the entertainment publisher’s content feed to identify and pull the Met Gala stories together under a custom header in its publisher channel. The content, promoted through SmartNews’ Top tab feature, helped give E! News a big bump over the two days of coverage:

The SmartNews bump in website traffic for E! News.

Credit: SmartNews

We were disappointed to learn that the Met Gala has nothing to do with baseball; it’s some freaky costume show at a museum.

Conclusions

All of this begs the question: How does SmartNews make money? Its business model seems predicated on the idea that if it makes its partners money, then it can make money, too. It’s an old-fashioned idea using 21st century technology. It certainly flies in the face of the current model of most AI news aggregators, especially companies like Facebook that have remained aloof to the concerns of publishers over how the social media site makes money off of other companies’ content, though that appears to be changing. We suspect much of the revenue, at least from the United States, is coming through promotional services such as in the E! News example. SmartNews also lists about 20 featured U.S. publishers, including the Associated Press, The Atlantic, and USA Today, which are probably paying some premium to get top billing.

If SmartNews can keep the momentum going, it may get top billing among the crowded field of news aggregators. One wonders how much longer a startup like SmartNews will escape the clutches notice of Japan’s SoftBank and its multi-billion-dollar bankrolled Vision Fund, which is investing heavily in AI and related technologies.

Worried that AI might steal your job? You should be. Why not get a Masters in Machine Learning from London’s Imperial College, one of the top-10 universities in the world? And you can study online!

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LAIX Inc. (LAIX) Analysts See $-0.41 EPS

… published on May 28, 2019, Prnewswire.com published: “GGV Capital Closes $1.88 Billion in New Funds – PR Newswire” on October 16, 2018.

Analysts expect LAIX Inc. (NYSE:LAIX) to report $-0.41 EPS on August, 27.After having $-0.21 EPS previously, LAIX Inc.’s analysts see 95.24 % EPS growth. It closed at $9.86 lastly. It is up 0.00% since July 25, 2018 and is . It has underperformed by 4.43% the S&P500.

LAIX Inc., an artificial intelligence company, provides online English learning services through Liulishuo mobile app in the People’s Republic of China. The company has market cap of $484.64 million. It is also involved in the artificial intelligence lab operation; technology development; and loan arrangement activities. It currently has negative earnings. The firm was formerly known as LingoChamp Inc.

More notable recent LAIX Inc. (NYSE:LAIX) news were published by: Finance.Yahoo.com which released: “Were Hedge Funds Right About Piling Into The Bancorp, Inc. (TBBK)? – Yahoo Finance” on June 27, 2019, also Businesswire.com with their article: “LAIX Inc. Announces First Quarter 2019 Unaudited Financial Results – Business Wire” published on May 28, 2019, Prnewswire.com published: “GGV Capital Closes $1.88 Billion in New Funds – PR Newswire” on October 16, 2018. More interesting news about LAIX Inc. (NYSE:LAIX) were released by: Cnbc.com and their article: “Opening Bell, September 27, 2018 – CNBC” published on September 27, 2018 as well as Businesswire.com‘s news article titled: “LAIX Inc. to Report Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Financial Results on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Business Wire” with publication date: February 19, 2019.

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As New York Times Co (NYT) Market Valuation Rose, Holder Darsana Capital Partners LP …

… `Newsroom Ham’; 17/04/2018 – The New York Times and CB Insights Names Todd Chaffee and Jules Maltz to the Top 100 Venture Capitalists List; …

The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) Logo

Darsana Capital Partners Lp decreased its stake in New York Times Co (NYT) by 21.78% based on its latest 2019Q1 regulatory filing with the SEC. Darsana Capital Partners Lp sold 2.78M shares as the company’s stock rose 7.68% with the market. The institutional investor held 10.00M shares of the newspapers and magazines company at the end of 2019Q1, valued at $328.50 million, down from 12.78M at the end of the previous reported quarter. Darsana Capital Partners Lp who had been investing in New York Times Co for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $5.76 billion market cap company. The stock increased 0.70% or $0.24 during the last trading session, reaching $34.67. About 456,502 shares traded. The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) has risen 48.81% since July 24, 2018 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 44.38% the S&P500. Some Historical NYT News: 30/03/2018 – Frances Robles: EXCLUSIVE: New York Times has learned that Stephon Clark was shot eight times from behind or side, according to; 08/05/2018 – NYT: MOHAMMED HADI JOINS BIZDAY AS NEWS DIRECTOR; 16/05/2018 – Meet The New York Times’s `Newsroom Ham’; 17/04/2018 – The New York Times and CB Insights Names Todd Chaffee and Jules Maltz to the Top 100 Venture Capitalists List; 03/05/2018 – President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to look into reducing American troops in South Korea, The New York Times reported on Thursday; 20/03/2018 – Beginning in 2014, Cambridge Analytica obtained data on 50 million Facebook users via means that deceived both the users and Facebook, the New York Times and London’s Observer reported on Saturday; 15/03/2018 – BREAKING: Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia – New York Times; 09/04/2018 – WDTN: BREAKING: The FBI raided the office of Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer and confidant of President Donald Trump, Th…; 25/05/2018 – President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in January 2017 — less than two weeks before the inauguration, according to the New York Times; 09/05/2018 – Meet the New York Times’s Most Devoted Letter Writers

Bamco Inc decreased its stake in Apple Inc (AAPL) by 97.28% based on its latest 2019Q1 regulatory filing with the SEC. Bamco Inc sold 40,071 shares as the company’s stock rose 12.19% with the market. The institutional investor held 1,122 shares of the computer manufacturing company at the end of 2019Q1, valued at $213,000, down from 41,193 at the end of the previous reported quarter. Bamco Inc who had been investing in Apple Inc for a number of months, seems to be less bullish one the $958.96 billion market cap company. The stock decreased 0.20% or $0.42 during the last trading session, reaching $208.42. About 11.55 million shares traded. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has risen 1.47% since July 24, 2018 and is uptrending. It has underperformed by 2.96% the S&P500. Some Historical AAPL News: 19/03/2018 – Express India: Apple developing MicroLED displays to replace Samsung’s OLED screens; 14/05/2018 – TIAA-CREF Adds Aptiv, Exits Baidu, Cuts Apple: 13F; 26/05/2018 – AppleInsider: Rumor: Apple working on new device family under codename ‘Star’ [u]; 01/05/2018 – R.I.P. for real, iPhone X ‘super cycle’ Apple shipped 52 million iPhones last quarter, up 3 percent from the same time last year; 26/04/2018 – SnapAR ‘Augmented Reality Video Messenger’ available on the Apple App Store; 07/03/2018 – Apple uncovers twice as many worker rights violations in 2017; 05/05/2018 – Apple: Yes. Microsoft: No — Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting; 05/05/2018 – HIGHLIGHTS-Warren Buffett comments on Apple, other Berkshire investments; 16/05/2018 – Microsoft is reportedly taking on Apple’s iPad with a line of low-cost tablets; 24/05/2018 – U.S. JURY SAYS SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD 005930.KS OWES APPLE AAPL.O $539 MLN FOR INFRINGEMENT OF SMARTPHONE PATENTS – CNET

More notable recent The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) news were published by: Nytimes.com which released: “Uber’s Stock Disappoints, Capping a Rocky Path to Its I.P.O. – The New York Times” on May 10, 2019, also Finance.Yahoo.com with their article: “A Note On The New York Times Company’s (NYSE:NYT) ROE and Debt To Equity – Yahoo Finance” published on June 12, 2019, Finance.Yahoo.com published: “Did Hedge Funds Drop The Ball On The New York Times Company (NYT) ? – Yahoo Finance” on April 26, 2019. More interesting news about The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) were released by: Marketwatch.com and their article: “How this one stock could ultimately be responsible for killing the bull market – MarketWatch” published on July 11, 2019 as well as Fool.com‘s news article titled: “Why The New York Times Company Stock Soared 28% in February – The Motley Fool” with publication date: March 08, 2019.

Investors sentiment increased to 1.45 in 2019 Q1. Its up 0.26, from 1.19 in 2018Q4. It increased, as 16 investors sold NYT shares while 62 reduced holdings. 43 funds opened positions while 70 raised stakes. 144.64 million shares or 2.17% more from 141.57 million shares in 2018Q4 were reported. New York-based Amalgamated Commercial Bank has invested 0.02% in The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). Manufacturers Life Insur The holds 313,920 shares. Hsbc Public Limited Company has invested 0% in The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). Bnp Paribas Asset Holding owns 7,322 shares. State Street, Massachusetts-based fund reported 4.21M shares. Gemmer Asset Mngmt Limited Com holds 0% of its portfolio in The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) for 113 shares. 102,065 were accumulated by Retail Bank Of Montreal Can. 48,001 were accumulated by Franklin. Atlanta Management Comm L L C reported 57,500 shares or 0.01% of all its holdings. Dimensional Fund Lp invested in 3.11M shares or 0.04% of the stock. Sg Americas Limited Liability Corp owns 17,239 shares. Cim Investment Mangement Incorporated stated it has 0.1% of its portfolio in The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). Balyasny Asset Mngmt Limited Company invested in 206,215 shares or 0.05% of the stock. Acadian Asset Management Limited Liability Corp reported 0.01% of its portfolio in The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT). Weybosset Research & Management Ltd Liability Co, Rhode Island-based fund reported 200,615 shares.

Since February 11, 2019, it had 0 insider buys, and 3 sales for $1.28 million activity. Caputo Roland A. sold $360,535 worth of stock or 11,580 shares.

Analysts await The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT) to report earnings on August, 14. They expect $0.19 EPS, up 11.76% or $0.02 from last year’s $0.17 per share. NYT’s profit will be $31.54 million for 45.62 P/E if the $0.19 EPS becomes a reality. After $0.20 actual EPS reported by The New York Times Company for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -5.00% negative EPS growth.

More notable recent Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) news were published by: Seekingalpha.com which released: “There Is Much More Room For Apple Pay – Seeking Alpha” on July 09, 2019, also Seekingalpha.com with their article: “Apple wants Mac Pro tariff exclusion – Seeking Alpha” published on July 23, 2019, Nasdaq.com published: “Technology Sector Update for 07/11/2019: RVLT, FRSX, EXFO, MSFT, AAPL, IBM, CSCO, GOOG – Nasdaq” on July 11, 2019. More interesting news about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were released by: Nasdaq.com and their article: “Thursday Apple Rumors: Apple May Be Giving Up on AR Glasses – Nasdaq” published on July 11, 2019 as well as Nasdaq.com‘s news article titled: “Is MeetMe Too Racy for Apple’s App Store? – Nasdaq” with publication date: June 25, 2019.

Analysts await Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to report earnings on July, 30. They expect $2.12 EPS, down 9.40% or $0.22 from last year’s $2.34 per share. AAPL’s profit will be $9.75B for 24.58 P/E if the $2.12 EPS becomes a reality. After $2.46 actual EPS reported by Apple Inc. for the previous quarter, Wall Street now forecasts -13.82% negative EPS growth.

Since February 1, 2019, it had 0 insider buys, and 1 sale for $255,087 activity.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Institutional Positions Chart

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Flipboard Resets All Passwords After Hack (Another Day, Another Breach)

With so little overhead needed, it and other aggregators like it could easily function on a distributed ledger system. This way, the news would be …

Popular news aggregator Flipboard has just announced that its central servers have been compromised and users’ account information was stolen. Passwords, usernames, and email addresses were taken by the perpetrators.

Flipboard has just made a public announcement that between June 2, 2018, and March 23, 2019, an outside party accessed its centralized database ‘more than once.’ The database accessed also contained some third-party information for Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Flipboard, however, said these were not compromised but is resetting its log-in information just in case.

Flipboard

Flippant Flipboard

The hack did not steal anything serious like social security numbers or bank account information. Still, the breach is currently under investigation by law enforcement. Flipboard has taken the executive decision to reset its users’ passwords — all 145 million of them. That means that if you’re a Flipboard user, you’re going to need to reset your password and likely re-verify any third-party logins you have the app.

What’s strange is that the hack had been going on for close to a year without any team members noticing. That demonstrates how little the company has been caring about its users’ privacy. Back in 2016, the company was criticized for posting potentially malicious ads and pop-ups on its platform.

Adware

Why Should We Trust Flipboard?

Flipboard is essentially just a magazine-style news aggregator made into a simple platform for your smartphone or desktop. It should not require third-party trust nor does it really need much maintenance. However, being centralized, it is always at risk.

With so little overhead needed, it and other aggregators like it could easily function on a distributed ledger system. This way, the news would be automated, recorded in a shared ledger, and distributed to its readers. It’s simple and, most importantly of all, it’s completely unhackable.

The company has instead decided to compromise its users’ privacy and personal information. However, Flipboard users might not be as forgiving this time around.

Will you continue to use Flipboard after this hack? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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